Group donates $15,000 for playground equipment

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Members of the Merri Mac Park Miracle volunteer group present a $15,000 check to city leaders to help pay for new playground equipment: (from left) Amy Rees, London administrative assistant; Beverly Whitelow and Marilyn Hall with Merri Mac Park Miracle; Tammy Braskett, London parks and recreation director; and Pat Closser, mayor.

(Posted Nov. 9, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

In a short amount of time, Merri Mac Park Miracle has raised over $22,000 for improvements at Merri Mac Park in London. On Nov. 9, the volunteer group presented $15,000 of those funds to city leaders to help purchase new playground equipment.

The total cost of the playground equipment is $92,000. A combination of donated and city funds will cover the cost. Features include a swing set, zip line, four-seat seesaw, spin ride, basketball drop shot, and a play tower with slides and climbing options. Also included is a “triple ring-fling” on which children swing through a series of elevated, rotating wheels. Installation is scheduled for spring 2022.

Merri Mac Park Miracle and the city are working together on a long-term plan to enhance the 100-acre park located off of Jenkinson Avenue and Toland Street. The first phase focuses on the playground equipment and upgrades to the existing basketball courts. Other projects on the radar are increased parking, creation of eight baseball diamonds, upgrades to the softball diamonds, enhancements to the pond on the property, and construction of a concession stand and bathrooms.

“We are so excited,” said Marilyn Hall, Merri Mac Miracle treasurer. “Our group pledged to raise $75,000 during the renovation of Merri Mac Park. In the first five months, we have raised $22,000!”

London resident David Mars got the fundraising ball rolling by hosting a marathon and half-marathon in May, donating all proceeds to the park efforts. Since then, Merri Mac Miracle has hosted wiffleball and cornhole tournaments, sold t-shirts, and collected donations from individuals and local businesses and organizations.

“The response has been awesome,” Hall said, making special mention of the small businesses and civic groups who have made contributions.

Looking ahead, Merri Mac Miracle plans to keep the fundraising going by holding an indoor cornhole tournament over the winter and soliciting donations from the larger companies and corporations in the area. Members of the group also plan to participate in London’s Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration on Nov. 28 to further boost awareness.

“It is great to see citizens get involved and help the city out,” said Mayor Pat Closser. “It’s easy to just say, ‘This needs fixed and this needs fixed,’ but to actually get out and do something about it really means a lot to us.”

The group typically meets at 5:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month at American Legion Post 105, 51 E. First St. Anyone who would like to volunteer or learn more about the group’s efforts is welcome to attend. Watch for updates on the group’s Facebook page, “Merri Mac Park Miracle,” or send email to merrimacparkmiracle@yahoo.com.

In addition to Hall, board members include Richelle Mabra-Barcus, D.J. Jackson, Angela Eden, Beverly Whitelow, Yvette Wilson, Sarah Mars, Angel Franco, and Tanya Jackson.

Donations can be made out to “MFC/Merri Mac Park Miracle” and mailed to P.O. Box 674, London, OH 43140. Several sponsorship packages are available, as well.

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